After a one hour long discussion with Derek Minor about his The Trap album, we took another hour to dive into some heavy questions. The Trap and the conversation about it, unveiled the hardships of a disenfranchised African American community as they struggle to Fly High Above The Trap by Any Means.
Coming into this interview, I found another opportunity. Let’s have an honest and nuanced conversation about race. Yes, not an original idea, but let’s do something a little different. Let’s pretend for a moment, that YOU, not a person of color, had the opportunity to sit down with a black person and ask them anything without recourse. What would you ask? It is in this vein that Derek Minor and I spoke about racial stereotypes, misconceptions, and solutions to help people understand each other better. Instead of shouting and arguing, this is a teachable moment, that takes many of the “rebuttals” toward the African American community, and gives a more thoughtful answer.
It is also important to note, and he acknowledges it, Derek Minor, does not speak for all black people. He is aware that some people may agree with the rebuttals and that others may even fall in the middle. This is his take and interpretation toward the questions being asked.
Without further adieu, Rapzilla presents A Black & White Conversation About Race.
What do you say to people when a police officer comes up to you and they say, “Well if you were just polite and didn’t resist the police officer, you would have been fine”?
I would say, all you have to do it just listen to stories of black people that could tell that’s not always true. First of all, we live in a very sensationalistic society. It’s 100% black and white. Some people will say “all cops are bad” and some will say “no cops are bad, they are just regular guys trying to do their job.” That’s because we don’t think about culture. I don’t speak for all black people. One good cop doesn’t speak for all cops. One bad cop doesn’t speak for all cops. What I would say, listen, police officers are a wide range of people – from the most corrupt, to the honorable.
The issue that black people with police officers don’t just necessarily have to do with the bad cop. It’s like if you look at videos, there are people like Jordan Crawford who was just walking around Walmart and a cop stalks him around the corner and guns him down. He didn’t even get a chance. Tamir Rice didn’t even get a chance to be polite or impolite. Also, the sentence for being impolite is not death. Me being impolite doesn’t mean that I automatically get sentenced to death. But that’s what often happens. Now, should you be smart and try to de-escalate the situation? Yes. No one should escalate the situation.
At times, I’ve been politest to cops, and I’ve still be handcuffed and talked to like…I had a cop literally threaten to kill me and I’m handcuffed in the back seat of the car. He was saying that because I wasn’t answering his questions fast enough. He’s asking me all these different questions. He’s like, “Boy, you’re asking for it. I can take your life now.” Those types of scenarios, it doesn’t matter how nice you are to them. Then there are other people that they do. We have to look at culture. There’s police culture. That’s one answer, usually, these have multiple answers.
I would say answer number two, would be the issue that a lot of black people is not just police brutality, it’s how the government protects people that are clearly wrong. When you see a person beat the crap out of someone on camera and then they get paid leave, and then they never get convicted, that is very frustrating. Often times the government protects the person that’s doing wrong. It’s because of their badge and that’s not fair. I think police officers that do the wrong thing should be held accountable. They are citizens just like myself. They also shouldn’t be crucified but they should be held accountable.
Why do black people loot and riot in their own neighborhoods when something like this happens?
I would say one, most people’s perspective is this isn’t even my neighborhood. Most of us don’t own homes because we can’t. When you think about historically, redlining has not allowed us to own homes. Again, not by our own choice but, I have the same education as a white guy, but I make half of what he makes. So most of us can’t even afford to own our own homes. Those aren’t even quote-on-quote our neighborhoods.
BUT, let’s say they are. Most of the time in disasters, people are trying to survive. When you see a white person do it, they don’t call it looting, they say it’s “surviving.” “Ah man, during this hurricane, we saw this family going to this store.” During Katrina, it was looting, but when you go to other places it’s “This lady’s surviving just went and grabbed a loaf of bread out of the store.” It’s the narrative. Some people benefit from creating a racist narrative painting black people as degenerates and others don’t.
You have to ask yourself. Does the news that I watch or the media that’s giving this news, have they been benefiting or profiting off a racist narrative. If it has, then you need to readjust how you listen to what they say. All in all, most black people don’t even feel like those are their neighborhoods. Unfortunately.
One of the things I always do on the news when they say there is looting is a look to see what’s being looted. Half the time, they’re in a Dollar Tree coming out with snacks and drinks and stuff like that. It’s not like they’re robbing the Nike store or Best Buy. I have seen it, but most of the time these people are trying to survive.
Are you going to highlight the worst person that was an opportunist? We also need to think about the trauma. When you’re in a neighborhood where the trauma is at an all-time high, a police officer just killed someone in your community, and you deal with the trauma…There’s actually a study that says every black person in America has PTSD. People deal with in different ways. And the reason why we say that is because of history.
When you look at a media that portrays you like an animal all the time, when you look at all the environments we come from, or even just slavery has done. Slavery was done collectively to black people, so therefore we collectively have that in common in America. That collective trauma of slavery, collective trauma of the Civil Rights era, collective trauma of the privatized prison system and the war on drugs, and those different things. What that study says is that most black people in America have PTSD.
If you live in an environment where there are groups of cops consistently bullying you in your neighborhood, you hit that breaking point. There’s no telling what you’ll do. There’s that situation and there are also people that are opportunists.
I remember the UK lost the National Championship. There were kids setting stuff on fire in their community and their college. These were wealthy kids. They were white kids. I literally saw someone pull down a stop sign and tear stuff up, but no one talked about that riot. We’ve seen sports riots like that all the time in America with white people. No one says, “This is the riot where white people tore up their own community.” They just said, “Oh wow, these people are mad. Some rowdy drunk people.” But blacks are considered rioters and looters.
A lot of times, these men that were killed by cops were in the act of doing a crime. so why is everyone protesting or getting mad for a criminal?
Because we have a justice system for a reason. The police officer shouldn’t be able to be judge, jury, and executioner. Every person has the right to a trial. If what you’ve done requires the death penalty in your community or in your state, if you’re supposed to get that, the justice system should carry out justice. Mike Brown stole some cigars quote-on-quote. That’s what’s on the camera. if he stole those cigars, he doesn’t get the death penalty for stealing a handful of cigarillos.